For many students, a university education isn’t complete without the valuable experience of studying abroad. When it comes to international travel, many factors need to be taken into account, and cost is one of the most important considerations to make before planning to spend time in a foreign country.
Balancing Cost and Safety
The old adage that you get what you pay for applies to this situation. Saving money on the cost of living abroad usually means that you will need to provide for your own personal safety. The most affordable countries for studying abroad also boast some of the most breathtaking landscapes and rainforests in the world. It’s certainly possible to live in a country like Costa Rica or Peru without encountering thieves or kidnappers, but you will have to be mindful of the possibility. As a full-time student resident of a foreign country, you shouldn’t have a problem avoiding crowded tourist hotspots and rough neighborhoods. With careful planning, your trip to a country in Latin America or Southeast Asia can be safe, affordable, and memorable.
See our ranking of 30 Affordable Colleges with the Best Study Abroad Programs.
Choosing the Most Inexpensive Destination
According to Business Insider, Latin American countries are the most inexpensive destinations for students studying abroad. Central and South American nations such as Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru offer a stunning wealth of biodiversity, culture, archeological ruins, and world-class universities capable of teaching fascinating subjects like literature, history, and natural science. These countries are home to tens of millions of local residents with their own customs and patterns of behavior. Thieves and pickpockets target those who seem to be out of place or visiting from a foreign country. To minimize the risk of theft or violence, it’s very important to blend in with the locals as much as possible and stay away from dangerous locations in big cities. Most visitors to Latin American countries never become victims of theft or kidnapping, so the chances are good that students exercising caution and good sense can have a successful experience.
Moving to a foreign country to study can be an unforgettable experience that provides valuable perspective about world cultures, religions, and people. It gives students the chance to research the subject of their interest from a new perspective that may not have been accessible in the United States. The majority of American students traveling abroad for their education go to popular destinations in Europe, such as Switzerland, Germany, and the United Kingdom. European destinations rank among the most expensive countries for studying abroad. These places pose a risk of theft, as well, but the chance of being kidnapped, robbed at gunpoint, or violently assaulted is much lower than in Latin America and other less developed places.
Traveling abroad for study is generally different than traveling abroad for recreation. Tourists typically spend more money than students on accommodations, so they have the protection of resorts and hotels in the area. Students typically live in more modest settings, so they can’t rely on the security of a high-dollar resort for protection.
The excitement and adventure of foreign study are irresistible to thousands of students who leave the country every year to pursue their educational goals. If you believe that studying abroad could be the experience that completes your education, it’s important to consider both the cost and safety of your trip before making plans.